*Our QB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available. 

This next statement will be a little skewed because I had scouted Teddy Bridgewater last season; so apologies to Teddy. Jimmy Garoppolo is the best QB I’ve watched on tape in 2013 (of the usual suspect top 10 QBs that I have watched so far). Of that top-10 group, Garoppolo was the last one I watched. I had grown weary of seeing the same decent college QBs over and over—Bortles, McCarron, Hundley, Carr, et al. When I finally flipped on the Garoppolo game tape—I figuratively came up out of my seat almost instantly. 

I had to go back and check Garoppolo’s numbers, and our metrics—52 TD/9 INT, 363.7 passing yards per game and 65.1% Completion Percentage in 2013. Amazing numbers but accomplished at lower-level FCS Eastern Illinois. Still, despite the cotton candy FCS-output, watching him play was breathtaking—the arm, the release, the footwork, the deception looking off defenders, the pinpoint accuracy…about three throws into viewing--my jaw dropped.  

I tried to splash cold water on myself to snap out of it--to come back to reality. This was just a small school guy looking good against weaker competition, right? Let’s calm down here. I scrambled to find tape of him against his toughest opponent faced in 2013, which was San Diego State. We all may smirk at San Diego State as a tough opponent, but for opening day 2013, at San Diego, facing a team would go on to win 8 of their next 12, including a big bowl game win—this was a pretty big moment for the then unheralded Jimmy Garoppolo. 

FCS-level Eastern Illinois, pardon my English, kicked D1 San Diego State’s ass. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 67.4% of his passes for 361 yards and 3 TDs and no picks. Garoppolo kicked their—not just statistically, but just watching him work them on tape. He was brilliant. 

San Diego State’s next opponent was Ohio State. OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer was scouting the Aztec’s opening week game tape and commented, “Eastern has one of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know who he was until I watched him. He’s a great player.” I agree with Urban Meyer. The computer has mostly agreement with me and Urban.


Jimmy Garoppolo, Through the Lens of Our QB Scouting Algorithm:

You cannot put Garoppolo’s statistical exploits into any proper context, because most all of his action is coming against lower-level FCS teams. You want to see a possible FCS breakthrough QB prospect dominate that lower-level—and Garoppolo did just that. He broke all the EIU records held by former QBs Sean Payton and Tony Romo. Garoppolo completed 62.3% of his passes in his career with 116 TD passes and 51 INTs. He averaged over 300+ yards a game in his last two seasons with 82 TD passes in 25 games (3.3 per game) in that span as well. 

Size wise he is OK, not great for a QB, but safe/fine. Garoppolo is coming in a little over 6’2” and 220+ pounds. He has a chiseled body with muscular arms. He is a decent, not great runner—he’s NFL adequate with his feet. 

Scouts have made mention that he has smaller hands, but no record exists of what the measurement is, so we have to wait. That could be a minor issue for our computer models as well…so we’ll have to wait and see. 

What makes Garoppolo great, to me, is beyond what you see in numbers. It is the incredibly quick release, accuracy, and ability to decoy defenses. Visually, you think you are watching Aaron Rodgers—current day. 

The Historical QB Prospects to Whom Jimmy Garoppolo Most Compares Within Our System:

It’s hard to paint a perfect picture of Garoppolo because of the FCS factor. The computer sees more Andy Dalton and Davis Fales (2013) than it does Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck, but Luck and Rodgers on the list makes him even more intriguing to us. If Garoppolo is some mix of Rodgers- Luck-Dalton…I’d take that if I were an NFL GM.

On the downside; a minor fear: Pat Devlin was a hot shot, early draft fave for many. He was a top FCS QB prospect for the NFL Draft at one time, but he had a few character issues pop up—Garoppolo doesn’t appear to have the same concern. 

QB Grade






Adj. Comp. Pct.

Adj. Yds per Comp

Adj. Pass per TD

Adj. Pass per INT


Garoppolo, Jimmy


E. Illinois








Dalton, Andy










Devlin, Pat










Rodgers, Aaron










Luck, Andrew









*“Adj” = A view of adjusted college output in our system…adjusted for strength of opponent.

**A score of 8.5+ is where we see a stronger correlation of QBs going onto become NFL good-to-great. A scouting score of 9.5+ is rarefied air—higher potential for becoming great-to-elite.

QBs scoring 6.0–8.0 are finding more success in the new passing era of the NFL (2014–on). Depending upon system and surrounding weapons, a 6.0–8.0 rated QB can do fine in today’s NFL—with the right circumstances…but they are not ‘the next Tom Brady’ guys, just NFL-useful guys.

2014 NFL Draft Outlook:

I mostly see Jimmy Garoppolo sitting as the #8-11 national ranking among 2014 NFL Draft QB prospects, with a few services pushing him more as top 5-7. We would strongly argue he should be among the top-5, and potentially the top-3. It’s also not crazy to foresee him as the best QB prospect in this draft when it is all said and done. 

There is no way the #5-10 ranking is going to hold for him. Scouts and analysts are going to fall in love with the small school story, followed by the strong Urban Meyer comments/endorsement--and when the Aaron Rodgers comparisons get thrown around…forget about it. He might make us sick eventually with all the fawning praise nationally. Today (and it’s early), we project Garoppolo is going to be a 1st round QB (barring any character issues, or very small hand size), and probably the second or third QB off the draft board. 

NFL Outlook:   

The one item I want to see desperately is that Wonderlic score, and we may not have that for three more months. We have his Wonderlic projected as neutral/average, but a radically higher or lower scoring will change our computer model. Barring any Wonderlic or hand-size setback—Garoppolo is going to be an “it” QB in this draft process quickly.

‘Special’ is on the table but it all depends on what team and OC he lands with…and if he gets a real, fair shot.